Saturday, July 28, 2012

Amercian Songs and Arias with Jennings, Stanton, and Hopson Wednesday

Kerry Jennings
It’s an evening of American songs and arias at 7:30 PM Wednesday August 1 as the Greencastle Summer Music Festival returns to Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church for its tenth free concert of the summer.  Tenor Kerry Jennings and pianist Amanda Hopson, both DePauw School of Music faculty members, will be joined by baritone Charles Stanton in performing music by Richard Hundley, Kurt Weill, Gian Carlo Menotti, Tom Cipullo, and Aaron Copland.
The Festival is supported by gifts from individuals, families, and businesses who share a commitment to the mission of “bringing the community together with friends making music for friends.” Jennings and Stanton’s performances this week have been underwritten by a gift from Jane Irwin in memory of her late husband, the beloved DePauw voice professor Stanley J. Irwin.

Festival founder and director Eric Edberg, also a DePauw music professor, says he’s delighted to present this program.  “This is our only all-vocal recital of the summer, and it’s fantastic to have Kerry and Charles, outstanding singers with national careers, make music for and connect with the Summer Music Festival family. Amanda is an outstanding artist who has played for us a number of times.  She and Kerry are in the midst of recording a CD of American music, and we’re fortunate to hear some of that repertoire this week.”
Jennings (, “sang as if he opens his heart to his audience and out pours the passion of his love,” according to Artsong Update.  He says “the repertoire for this concert includes some of the first songs I sang as a student by Richard Hundley, an impassioned lyricist who loves to caress the words with beguiling melody. It also includes a favorite aria by Kurt Weill and something new by one of New York’s favorite song composers, Tom Cipullo.”

The Washington Post has written that Charles Stanton’s “impressive versatility of characterization commands attention from audiences of any musical genre."  In discussing his portions of the program, Stanton ( explains, “The repertoire I have chosen is some of my favorite American repertoire because of the historic and poetic importance. Copland has such a distinct ‘American’ sound. His writing created a new kind of nationalism in classical American writing. Barber has such gorgeous and achingly beautiful melodies; it seems remiss to leave him out of any American concert. With Menotti,  The Old Maid and the Thief was originally composed as a radio show. His writing is beautiful, accessible, and infused with countless comedic moments.”  

Tenor Kerry Lee Jennings holds the Bachelor of Music and Master of Music Degrees from the University of Washington and the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Maryland at College Park. His teachers have included Julian Patrick, Carmen Pelton, François Loup, and Gran Wilson. Kerry enjoys a career that encompasses opera, oratorio, recital, and chamber works. On the operatic stage, performance highlights have included over twenty lead and supporting roles comprised of early, standard and contemporary repertoire. Dr. Jennings has won many awards for his singing and was a District Winner and Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan National Council Auditions. He recently joined the faculty at DePauw University where he teaches Voice, English and Italian Diction, and directs the Opera and Musical Theatre scenes programs.
Charles Stanton
Baritone Charles Stanton is the newly-appointed Vice President of the Arts Council of Indianapolis. A classically-trained singer, Charles holds the Master of Music degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He also completed additional advanced studies in voice at Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Houston. Charles is an arts advocate and fundraiser and has raised more than 37 million dollars for various causes. Having moved to Greencastle in October of 2011, Charles established the Greencastle Cultural Calendar on Facebook which helps to connect the community to local and regional cultural events. During the last five years, Charles has been featured on the cover of the Opera America magazine, has performed more than 20 world debuts of new works, and has directed numerous world and regional premieres. Upcoming appearances include those in Houston, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.

Amanda Hopson
Amanda Asplund Hopson is a summa cum laude graduate of Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, where she earned the Bachelor of Music degree in piano, studying with Dr. Sharon Kleinhuizen Jensen. She earned Master’s and Doctoral degrees in piano at the University of Texas at Austin, where her principal teacher was Danielle Martin. While in Texas she studied pedagogy with Martha Hilley and Amanda Vick Lethco and performed with the New Music Ensemble, working with visiting composers such as John Corigliano, William Kraft, and Joan Tower. Since moving to Indianapolis in 1998 she has worked extensively as a freelance artist, specializing in song accompaniment. She performs frequently as a master class accompanist for artists such as Elly Ameling, Leonard Hokanson, and Nathan Gunn and has been heard in recital with former King's Singer Gabriel Crouch and Metropolitan Opera soprano Lise Lindstrom. Amanda teaches piano, is Senior Staff Accompanist and serves as Coordinator of Keyboard Studies at DePauw University.
The Festival continues on Wednesday August 8 with a program including the Rebecca Clarke Sonata for Viola and Piano performed by Nicole Brockmann and Darcy McCoy and the Brahms Quintet for Clarinet and Strings featuring Gareth Guest.